Geocaching was born in 2000!
Geocaching is a fun, modern treasure hunting game using a handheld GPS unit to go to the co-ordinates of where some treasure has been hidden by another enthusiast. You can find the co-ordinates on special geocache websites where you can also write about your hunt for others to read.
It is an international game that was born in the year 2000 and has grown and become popular worldwide, especially in the last 2 or 3 years. It's reported that now over 350,000 geocaches are hidden in 222 countries and registered on geocache websites. Some are even on mountainsides or under water! So this hobby can be a simple game that anyone can play - looking for treasure in a simple way round near where you live, or quite an adventurous sport going to more challenging locations.
The treasure is called a cache. There are many different types of caches, even micro ones the size of a lipstick or less. The treasure items can just be a token and may not necessarily have any monetary worth. To give you an idea; a typical cache may consist of a waterproof container holding inside a logbook, toys, books, coins, trinkets, jewellery or any number of imaginative things. Some people are very inventive and enjoy developing their own trademark style of buried treasure!
Where does the name Geocaching come from GEO means Earth and is part of the word geography. CACHING means the process of hiding a cache. Cache is a French word that means temporary hiding place. Cache also refers to Memory cache which is storage in a computer used for frequently used information. You may also hear this hobby called by its original names Global Positioning Stash Hunt, or GPS Stash Hunt.
But what exactly is a GPS device? It's an electronic unit that tells you your approximate location on the planet in co-ordinates of Longitude and Latitude. You can also use it to tell you how to get from your current location to another location. The GPS units vary in complexity; some have voice navigation, their own maps, and their own electronic compasses. However, the minimum requirement for this pastime is only a basic GPS device which may cost about $100. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to get started.
There are four simple rules making geocaching easy for anyone to play.
When you find your cache you need to:
* Take something from the cache
* Put something back into the cache
* Write in the logbook
* Put the cache back exactly where and how you found it
Now you may think that if the GPS gadget takes you to the co-ordinates then what is the point of the game? The answer is that the GPS can only get to within usually 15-20 feet, or the more expensive GPS devices within 6 feet. And the cache is hidden to increase the fun of finding it, and also to hide it from muggles. Muggles is a playful name for people who don't know about this sport and they may even unintentionally come across your cache and move it.
Sometimes this sport is played over a weekend as an organised group event. Several caches are hidden all in one locality and the players try to find them and score points maybe even winning prizes.
There are geocache websites covering many countries, but the most popular is www.geocaching.com managed by the company Groundspeak. Here you can find co-ordinates and how to start your treasure hunting.
We would love to hear how you get on so do email us about your adventures and experiences of hunting treasure.